Make Moving More Accessible

BathtubMoving into a new home can be a monumental task for anyone, but it may present additional challenges to those with a disability. If you count yourself among the more than 54 million Americans living with a disability or share a home with someone who does, here is some advice to help make moving more manageable.

 

House-Hunting Considerations

When searching for a home, it’s important to ensure that it is adaptable for future needs. For instance, if you have mobility issues, you might not need to use a wheelchair now, but that could change some time down the road. Educational material from Easterseals suggests looking for a property with the following structural features that will make modifications easier to accomplish:

  • A relatively flat site for your home that has paved walkways from the driveway and sidewalk areas to your door.
  • A ground-level entrance or an entrance with only one or two steps that avoids any major obstructions such as trees.
  • Building corners that could accommodate a ramp with a slope not more than 1 inch in height for every foot in length.
  • No steps or changes in levels on the main floor.
  • Wider-than-standard doorways that are at least 32″ in width, and thresholds that are no more than a half-inch high.
  • Hallways that are at least 42 inches wide.
  • At least one large, full bathroom with a 32-inch clear door opening and clear 5×5-foot floor space.
  • A kitchen large enough for easy wheelchair mobility.

 

Planning for Modifications

Depending on your disability, you may need to make modifications before you can move in. If that’s the case, you should budget the time and money it will take to make those accessibility adjustments. The national average cost to remodel a home with disability accommodations is $4,936 according to HomeAdvisor.

Part of the wide price range can be attributed to the different needs of disabled people. For example, some with hearing loss may just need special smoke and carbon monoxide detectors and doorbells with visual alerts installed, while others who use a wheelchair may need exterior ramps, wider doorways, lower cabinets and appliances, and a curbless shower stall, among other modifications. It’s also worth noting that the federal Fair Housing Act requires landlords to allow tenants to make reasonable accommodations to certain rental homes, apartments, and condos, although the renter may have to pay for the accomodations.

Fortunately, there are many agencies and organizations that offer grants, loans, and other resources to help people with disabilities make their homes safer and more comfortable. And some accessibility modifications may be tax deductible because they qualify as necessary medical expenses. State and federal health and human services agencies are a good place to start when researching available resources.

 

Making the Move

Similarly, there are agencies and organizations that offer financial assistance to help people with disabilities cover moving costs. Some moving companies may also provide discounts or specialized services for clients with disabilities, so it pays to start researching and scheduling early.

Otherwise, experts advise people with disabilities implement many of the same strategies as anyone else who’s relocating to a new home. Decluttering your current home will make packing and unpacking easier. And numbering each box and maintaining a list of each box’s contents will make unpacking and organizing go much faster.

Other chores might be particularly important for some people with disabilities. For example, you want to be sure to refill prescriptions and find healthcare providers whose offices are convenient to your new home.

Try implementing these tips to make house hunting, renovations, and moving as simple and stress free as possible. Soon you’ll be able to settle in and start enjoying your new home.

 

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How to Master the “ART” of Retirement

Retirement beach writing

Retirement is not an end. It’s an experiment in Activity, Relationships, and Time (ART). And like all experiments, the ART of retirement involves some trial and error. It’s not easy leaving behind the routine, the people, and the places that were such a big part of your life while you were working.

But a successful retirement is “work” too, especially at the beginning. Trying to settle on a new routine that will keep you happy and connected isn’t as easy as it sounds. You will make mistakes. You will feel frustrated. You might even feel a little bit lost.

One easy way to smooth this challenging transition is to plan ahead. If your retirement is just around the corner, start thinking about what your retirement ART is going to look like, and how you plan on practicing it.

Activity

Jack just retired. He has no idea how to spend his time anymore. So, he putters around the house, fixing stuff that isn’t broken, rearranging things that don’t need to be rearranged, watching a lot of TV … and driving his wife, Jill, crazy.

We chuckle when we see a scenario like this play out in a movie or TV show. But Retired Hubby or Wifey Syndrome is a very real problem. Many senior couples have spent eight hours or more apart from each other every single day for decades. Then, suddenly, they’re together all the time.

Often, this is the moment when spouses realize they each have very different ideas about what retirement is going to be like. One spouse might have visions of a hammock in the backyard. The other might have plans to see the world. Somewhere in between those expectations are the activities that are going to make retirement worthwhile for both people.

The things you do in retirement should be meaningful, stimulating, and energizing. Your passions should be your guide to a new routine – both with your spouse, and apart from him or her. Take professional lessons to turn a hobby like golf or painting into a real skill. Volunteer at a charity or nonprofit that’s close to your heart. You and your spouse can indulge your inner foodies with weekly date nights to try out all the new hot spots in town.

Relationships

Your spouse isn’t the only person you’ll be seeing more often in retirement. Your relationships with the rest of your friends and family are also going to change now that you’re no longer working. This too can be difficult, as many of the people you spent 40 hours every week with at your job recede from your day-to-day routine.

But this can also be a wonderful opportunity to connect with the people who matter the most to you. Once you and your spouse make it through the initial adjustment period, you’ll be able to spend time doing the things that brought you together in the first place. Planning trips and extended vacations around your children and grandchildren will create meaningful experiences that you’ll carry with you for the rest of your life.

Your social calendar also gets a whole lot bigger. Fill it up! Organize your friends for a weekly round of golf. Plan date nights with other retired couples. If there are people you lost touch with due to the grind of working and raising a family, reconnect.

Time

Time without the structure that work provides can be challenging for retirees. On the one hand, without meetings and project deadlines to worry about, time can seem so limitless that it’s overwhelming. On the other hand, many seniors still react to retirement like it’s an end to dread. They feel like their time is slipping away.

But these outdated notions just don’t suit today’s retirement or today’s retirees. Retirees are more active, more connected to their communities, more adventurous, more ALIVE than they’ve ever been! And they organize their time in retirement around the activities and relationships that make them feel happy and fulfilled.

Like we said at the top, retirement is an ART you have to work to perfect. You’ll make mistakes, and you’ll learn from them and adjust. You might load up your schedule with activities, only to find that having less structure allows you to explore your options a bit more. You might find the initial lack of structure maddening, and work on a new routine. You might try a part time job. You might like it. You might not.

There’s no one way to have a successful retirement. But the sooner you start working with us to refine your ART, the more beautiful your retirement picture will be.